Hong Kong scientists claimed to have created a genetically modified rice
that provides protection for chickens from the bird flu virus.
The rice contains genetic material from the traditional Chinese medicine
plant called yuzhu which has been found to inhibit the growth of viruses such as
the deadly H5N1.
But it has not yet been tested outside the laboratory or
on live birds because of safety concerns over the influenza virus. Scientists at
the Chinese University of Hong Kong said they had produced a small quantity of
the modified grain containing the yuzhu material which had been tested in a
laboratory dish in a solution with monkey cells and the H5N1 virus.
the experiment, the grain prevented the monkey cell from being destroyed by the
virus," said research team leader Samuel Sun Sai-ming.
Sun said they were now looking to take their research to the next stage of
testing it on birds, however they were finding it difficult because farms and
universities were unwilling to host the experiment.
"It's hard to meet the safety requirements
for such an experiment," Professor Sun told reporters.
added that they had contacted some universities in mainland China to try to find
somewhere to do the experiment and were awaiting responses.
team comprises scientists from Hong Kong and mainland China working at the
university State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology.
laboratory was set up with the China Agricultural University to research
improvements in agricultural productivity and nutrition.
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